Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aberration Nexus - Libro Iacet (EP) (2013)

One visit to the Bandcamp page of Australian one man band Aberration Nexus and you will find this: "Spawned by a hatred of man & an even greater hatred of the pitiful religions he so dearly clings one will be spared in the days of the Great Cataclysm...your prayers are empty...nothing will save you..." It reads like a manifesto, one that could have come from any number of bizarre hate groups. As hate speech, it would be frowned upon in most parts of the world. But as a window into the influences of a musician, it says so much. Chris Meyer, the lone member of this blackened metal project from Ballarat, isn't shy about the inspirations for his music, nor should he be. After all, when you take up the sword of black, there is an implied hatred of all things religious and mind numbing. The evil overtones that have accompanied this music are no secret; in fact, they have become synonymous with the people and bands who define it. On his debut EP, "Libro Iacet," Meyer gives us a look through his window, at a world that is bleak and full of despair; and still a bit rough around the edges.

After the short intro track "Rite of Eternal Dominion," there is a mood in place that Meyer must be pleased with. Now that the haunting sound of piano keys and effects has faded, he has a blank canvas to create something else entirely. Without wasting any time, "Hawking" delivers a massive blow early and often. And while the main focus may be on speed and intensity, he leaves plenty of room for sheer brutality. Wave after wave of instrumentation pours through your speakers, but what is lacking is the clarity and division between those layers. In the all out assault areas, like the one that surrounds the three minute mark, it becomes difficult to sort through the individual pieces, leaving only a clunky mix that is coated in the metallic clang of cymbals. A victory is scored on "Iconoclast Soliloquy," though, as Meyer puts together a well rounded effort that combines not only the entire spectrum of black metal elements, but infuses a dose of melody through his guitar work. He achieves a much greater balance here than on any other track on the EP, with each segment of rolling kicks becoming punctuation for the movement, rather than a murky mess. The vocal assist, courtesy of melodic death metal band Catacombs' Matthew Askeland, adds an extra punch.

But for every punch, there is a counterpunch, and the bombastically unrestrained "Burn the Book of Lies" is a punch that might not land as squarely as desired. Seemingly straight forward at first, the track descends into chaos soon after the midway point. it isn't for lack of planning and execution on Meyer's part, though. The track takes a decidedly disjointed turn when the guest guitar solo kicks in, throwing off any tone or flow that had been established to this point. It feels more tacked on than organic, and serves little purpose to the larger whole. If nothing else, the final thirty seconds captures the evil that was intended. Once again on his own, "Graced With Darkness" reverts back to the traditional blackened sound, bringing back the raw energy that has permeated the album at nearly every turn. There are twists along the way, as a squealing guitar passage leads into magnificently performed chanting. getting into, and subsequently out of, that portion shows a real understanding of the music he makes; it cuts away to the clean chants, initially. But his screeched vocals rejoin at the tail end, leading it back to the slaughter. After another round of shredding guitars and a drum kit that never sleeps, those same chanting vocals return to take you to silence.

Inspirations for metal musicians can come in so many forms. Puppies and kitties, death and decay, or even religious beliefs of all kinds. Whichever facet of the world gets your creative juices flowing, will ultimately put a stamp on the resulting work. And while songs about butterflies and tweeting birds might provide a much more uplifting experience, that just isn't the bolt of cloth Chris Meyer is cut from. His detest of mankind and the religious beliefs that have corrupted our own moral codes is palpable here; I would venture to say you can almost taste it. And that frankness, whether you agree or disagree with his premise, makes the album all the more apt to make an impact. There are rough patches scattered throughout that do a disservice to his work, mainly in the production aspect. But the beauty of what Meyer has done here is that the evil, the ferocity of his work cuts through all of that murkiness like a knife through a Bible. He has captured pure evil in his vocals, and a sinister tone in his instrumentation. That might not be enough to win him any awards, but "Libro Iacet" speaks louder than a Grammy.


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